Bloom at Brown

Our profile for this week is on Joanne Won, a sophomore at Brown. In addition to playing on the Brown Volleyball team, Joanne works at the Brown Language and Thought Laboratory. Joanne has just founded a club at Brown called Bloom, an organization promoting fertility and reproductive health awareness.

Q: What exactly is Bloom?

WON: Bloom is a club on campus where we fundraise for the BabyQuest Foundation and strive to educate our generation on the importance of reproductive health and fertility..

Q: What does BabyQuest foundation do?

WON: BabyQuest is a nonprofit organization that gives financial assistance to couples and individuals who cannot afford fertility treatments. For example, BabyQuest would give grants for fertility methods  such as IVF therapy, gestational surrogacy, and egg and sperm donation

Q: Why did you start Bloom?

WON: I started Bloom because I am really passionate about fertility. Before Bloom, there wasn’t really a club on campus that raised awareness about these important issues, and I think as young students we all deserve to have knowledge of reproductive and sexual health so that we can make educated decisions for ourselves and for our futures.

Q: Is Bloom designed only towards women?

WON: No. Bloom is for all genders. ½ of reproductive issues in couples are due to male issues, so it is very much is a topic that affects both genders. For guys it’s generally a hard subject to approach and discuss because it can be controversial and stigmatised, and I think people in general are just scared to talk about it. So, the purpose of Bloom is to open up conversation and make people feel more comfortable in communicating about fertility.

Q: Is Bloom only a space for those who want children in the future?

WON: No! Bloom is about helping everyone understand that they have a right to do what they want with their future, but it is also about advocating for others’ rights that they may not have been granted otherwise. Bloom is truly for those who are passionate about a wide variety of topics, including  sexual health, STI’s, infertility, and maternal mortality.

Q: So what do you plan to do on campus?

WON: This semester we are already starting with a fundraiser, partnering with CycleBar Providence to hold a spin class in which all proceeds will go towards BabyQuest. We actually sold out the entire class and thanks to CycleBar’s generosity we will be raising over one thousand dollars, which is amazing. We are having another fundraiser in April with Barre & Soul Providence as well. Additionally, our Science and Education board (led by myself and Isabella Henderson) will be holding several mini-seminars throughout the semester as well as other presentations by our Policy and Politics board, chaired by Bailie Salk and Olivia Siemens. Our focus next fall will be to hold more seminars with guest speakers in order to spread the word about reproductive and sexual health concerns!

Q: What would you say to anyone who is interested in these topics?

WON: Join our club!

You can read more about Bloom here or follow their Instagram, @bloomfertilitytalk